The United Nations has called for the release of the frozen assets to avoid the economic and social collapse of poverty-stricken Afghanistan.
A report released by UNDP on Thursday warned of a total breakdown of the country. The report said that about 97% of the population might sink below the poverty line if the country’s economic and political crisis were not addressed.
About $10 billion of the country’s central bank assets are currently frozen overseas. UN has warned about a “complete collapse” if the international community does not find a way to get the money into the war-torn country despite their issues with the Taliban government.
The UN envoy on Afghanistan Deborah Lyons in an interview on Thursday said that Afghanistan has been facing a storm of crisis including a plunging currency, a hike in food and other prices, and a lack of funds for official’s salaries.
The envoy said to the 15-members Council, “The economy must be allowed to breathe for a few more months, giving the Taliban a chance to demonstrate flexibility and a genuine will to do things differently this time, notably from human rights, gender, and counterterrorism perspective,”
Foreign donors led by the United States provided more than 75 percent of the expenditure for the Afghanistan government that crumbled as the US exit after 20 years in the country.
President Joe Biden’s administration said that it is open to donating humanitarian aid but that any direct economic flow, including unfreezing the central bank assets, will be dependent on Taliban actions that include allowing safe passage for people to leave. The first flight carrying 100 civilians out of Kabul landed in Qatar on Thursday
The International Monetary Fund has also blocked the Taliban from accessing some $440m in new emergency reserves.
US diplomat Jeffrey DeLaurentis told the Security Council, “The Taliban seeks international legitimacy and support. Our message is simple: any legitimacy and support will have to be earned,”
Russia and China have offered millions in humanitarian and emergency aid. They have both argued for the release of Afghanistan’s frozen assets.
China’s Deputy UN Ambassador Geng Shuang said., “These assets belong to Afghanistan and should be used for Afghanistan, not as leverage for threats or restraints,”